A Comprehensive Guide to Solar Panel Cleaning in the UK
Are you scratching your head, wondering how often your solar panels need a clean? Let our guide answer all your pressing questions on the subject.
The Importance of Clean Solar Panels
In the modern age, maintaining your property’s kerb appeal is essential, and clean solar panels are part of this upkeep. Many solar panels in the UK come with a self-cleaning feature; a hydrophobic coating prevents water droplets and dirt particles from sticking to the surface. While this may sound like a dream come true, it’s often not sufficient to keep the panels in top shape. So, let’s delve into the cleaning aspects to help you maximise your solar panel efficiency.
Why Do Solar Panels Need to be Clean?
Solar panels perform at their best when they’re clean. Dirt and grime can accumulate on the surface, reducing their efficiency. Keeping your panels clean helps lower your energy bills and is crucial, especially if you have invested a considerable amount upfront.
Moreover, if you’re availing of solar panel grants, the performance of your solar array may influence the surplus energy rates that you could earn from the grid.
How Often Should They Be Cleaned?
The cleaning frequency varies depending on the type of panels, their location, and the manufacturer’s guidelines. Typically, a cleaning session every six months—or at least once a year—should suffice. However, if your panels are near sources of dirt and grime, like an urban area or a forest, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.
In most cases, the UK’s regular rain showers will handle a fair amount of the cleaning job, sparing you heavy-duty chores.
Professional Cleaning: Yay or Nay?
Hiring a professional cleaner can be a wise decision if you’re short on time or uncomfortable working at height. Expect to pay between £40 and £300 for a professional service in the UK. The cost accounts for safety equipment, expertise, and the panels’ condition.
DIY Solar Panel Cleaning
Cleaning solar panels yourself is feasible, but be cautious as it might void your warranty. Special cleaning kits are available which usually include biodegradable soap, a soft brush, and a wiping implement. Use a soft brush to avoid scratching the panel surface, and opt for a long-handled brush for added safety.
Cleaning Tips and Tricks
- Cleaning in Hot Weather: Avoid using a hose pipe on hot panels, as the sudden temperature change can cause thermal stress and potential damage.
- Power Washing: Avoid power washing your panels; they aren’t designed to withstand high-pressure water streams.
- Using Vinegar: A diluted vinegar solution works well for tough stains and lichen growth.
- Dealing with Moss and Algae: Anti-algal chemicals or a diluted vinegar solution can remove moss and lichen.
- Removing Bird Droppings: Use a mild detergent or a soft brush on an extended pole for this task.
- Innovative Cleaning Solutions: New technologies like electrostatic repulsion and mechanical vibration-based cleaning methods are on the horizon but are yet to become available for domestic use.
Cleaning your solar panels is essential for maximising their efficiency and, in turn, your savings. Whether you opt for professional cleaning or take the DIY route, the key is to follow best practices and do it regularly. With this guide at hand, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision about your solar panel maintenance in the UK.